New Zealand's men's sevens helped banish the ghosts of Rio in 2016 by romping into the Olympic semi-finals in Tokyo today. And they did it more easily than the final score, 21-10, suggests.

This side is getting better as the tournament progresses and tonight the New Zealanders snuffed out Canada until the final couple of minutes when they conceded two late tries, which made the final result more respectable for the Canadians.

New Zealand were 21-0 up at halftime, after tries from Andrew Knewstubb, with a tap penalty and dart to the line, and two from co-captain Scott Curry - one after winning a ruck and another capping off a slick passing exchange and 55-metre sprint.

New Zealand played smart, thoughtful sevens; Canada had no real game plan and paid for it. They can finish fifth, but New Zealand's medal hopes, to make up for  that shattering fifth placing in Rio, are very much alive.

New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw was pleased with how his side handled the pressure of a quarter-final.

“You can’t win the Olympics in the quarter-finals, but you can lose,” he said. “This is knockout rugby. It’s not about trying to win by 30 points, it’s about finding a way to win.

“They haven’t played a lot of rugby in the past 18 months and some things are a bit rusty. They have to accept that things won’t be perfect and then adapt. I thought they did that well.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Rugby - Sevens
Tweet Share